This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclaimer policy
Even when we’re at our busiest, it’s difficult to keep our dogs from approaching us and laying their head on us. Humans and dogs share a unique bond that cannot be expressed in words. Instead, dogs communicate using body language, vocalizations, and facial expressions. Varied behaviors have different meanings, yet working out what these actions mean might be difficult.
Dogs love resting their heads on their owner’s laps, but what are they trying to tell you when they do this? It could be any number of things.
Here are some of the things your dog might be trying to tell you when they rest their head on you.
They Want Affection
Dogs are naturally affectionate creatures. Every dog is different, and socialization, breed, and other factors influence how much affection they want or need from their owners. A healthy, well-domesticated dog will beg for attention on a regular basis.
By laying their head on you, they may simply be asking for a few pets and some love. It’s not only a common dog behavior but petting and affection are also a lovely method to express our affection for our canine friend.
They Want Attention
A desire for affection is a type of attention, but it might be more.
Dogs are social animals. Even if the pack consists only of a human and a dog, domestic dogs, like their wild ancestors, are pack animals. When we go to work or leave the house for any length of time, our dog can grow worried or scared by being alone. They may get concerned that you will not return, which can cause separation anxiety. Separation anxiety is a disorder that can manifest in a number of ways.
Many dogs with separation anxiety can become agitated and jump all over you to get your attention. Others may simply approach you and rest their head on you. It will differ depending on the dog and its circumstances. Whatever the case may be, you must ensure that your dog receives all the care that it requires.
You can either have family or neighbors visit them, or you can send them to a dog day-care facility when you are out during the day. It is vital to recognize that dogs should be socialized as much as possible, both with people and with other dogs. Walking to dog parks or visiting friends with dogs to address these anxiety issues is a terrific idea.
They Want Snacks
It’s also important to think about the situation where your dog is laying their head on you. You should also be aware of what you’re doing when it happens. Dogs do not communicate in the same way that people do. If you’re eating something delicious-smelling to a dog’s sensitive nose, they can lean in and beg for a little taste. They’ll almost certainly be staring at or reaching for your food while they lean on you.
Even though dogs lack high functioning social skills, they understand what is and is not socially acceptable. You can be sure that if you eat in front of your dog and feed them scraps, they’ll be expecting some the next time you eat. Even when fed a well-balanced diet, dogs can be notoriously greedy. We can keep our pets in line while we dine with some basic training and education. This will also make it easier for us to save their snacks for good behavior rewards.
They are Stressed
Petting our dogs is not only enjoyable, but it may also be good for our mental health as well as theirs. Because a stressed dog may lay his head on you, it is vital to assess the entire issue.
Do they have a concerned look on their faces? Are they agitated in any way? Is that a yowl or a whimper coming from them? These signs and symptoms of stress could indicate that something needs to be addressed. They may have got scared from a loud noise outside or in the house or may have become anxious because you left them alone for a while.
They are Cold
Imagine you are sitting on the couch, trying to warm up from the winter chill. You might be covered in a blanket to keep warm. Although your dog’s natural coat shields them from the cold, they will still feel it just as you do. It’s possible that your dog is only looking for some warmth when he approaches you and leans against you.
If you have multiple pets, it is common for them to sleep snuggled up next to each other. With no other pets around, you and your warmth may make your dog feel more at ease and comfortable.
They Think Something is Wrong
It could be that when your dog approaches you and rests his head on your leg, he’s trying to alert you to something. One of the reasons it is so important to get to know your dog’s personality is because of this.
Some dogs will spring up and bark loudly at the slightest provocation, such as the passing of mail through the door. They’re trying to warn you about a possible danger in their environment. While this is a natural protective instinct, it is vital to learn how to control it.
Other dogs have a calmer temperament and will not respond as fiercely to stimuli. If they see something is wrong, they may rest their head on you to alert you to the situation. You’ll have to pay close attention to the rest of their body language and demeanor to work out what is wrong.
If they do not respond to petting or seem to want to focus your attention on anything, you may need to reassure them while also doing a bit of investigating around your home.
They May be Unwell
Dogs grow less active as they get older. Part of the explanation for this is the effect of age on their bones and hormonal activity.
While we shouldn’t assume there’s a problem just because an aging dog leans against you, you should be on the alert for signs of a health problem. If they place their head on you and don’t do much else to get your attention, this could be a problem.
Keep an eye on your dog’s energy levels and look out for any changes in their eating habits and behaviors. You know your dog best, so you should be able to notice if something is wrong. If you think that they are unwell, take them to the vet for a check-up just in case.
What Does it Mean When a Dog Lays His Head on my Neck?
We have talked about what it means when a dog lays on you, but if your dog keeps laying exclusively against your neck?
If your dog is large enough, he or she may lay his or her head over your neck just to be close to you. It’s something they do to other dogs they regard to be family. They will consider you the same if you treat them right. This is just your dog showing you affection in the best way they can.
A dog laying his head on you can mean a whole variety of things, but usually, it just means that your dog loves you and is happy you are there for him.